Gipsy pitch allocation 'would be totally unfair'

PUBLISHED: 19:08 23 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:43 06 May 2010

A PLEA for a reduction in the number of gipsy pitches proposed for the St Albans district has been made in the Examination in Public (EiP) by the district council s planning portfolio holder Cllr Chris Brazier. He had only a 10-minute slot at the EiP hel

A PLEA for a reduction in the number of gipsy pitches proposed for the St Albans district has been made in the Examination in Public (EiP) by the district council's planning portfolio holder Cllr Chris Brazier.

He had only a 10-minute slot at the EiP held in Letchworth today (Thursday) to plead the case for reconsideration of the proposed number of new pitches earmarked for the district.

The East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) is recommending that the St Albans district should provide an extra 33 pitches by 2011 as well as a further three per cent growth in numbers until 2021.

The district already has 52 authorised pitches - which can hold up to two caravans each - and if it has to provide the amount recommended by EERA, numbers could exceed 150 within 13 years.

Cllr Brazier stressed that Redbourn and Colney Heath already bore an unfair burden of pitches and any increase would be disproportionate and unfair.

He pointed out that they did not have the infrastructure in place and warned that because of Herts County Council's attitude to anti-social behaviour by travellers, which was to ban them from official sites, the villages suffered from the extra pressure and cost which resulted from gipsies looking for unofficial sites.

Cllr Brazier pointed out that villages were unsuitable for such sites and warned that should the EERA proposal be adopted, St Albans would have 93 pitches by 2011 while North Herts would have only 21.

He said: "I think the distribution is totally unfair. EERA is concerned that travellers can become isolated when they are split up but I have to travel 140 miles to see my family in Northants because they cannot afford to live here."

The panel is due to report before Christmas and further discussions will continue next year. Cllr Brazier added: "I am hoping they will take our views on board.


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